Color gamut of the pigmented inks for the Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 5000ps
Many years ago most water-based printers used only or primarily dye-based ink. There were years back then when Epson and Canon had no pigmented ink whatsoever. So circa 2001, there were a lot of people asking about the new HP UV pigmented inks, the new long-lasting inks for the HP DesignJet 5000 and 5000ps.
In those years HP traditionally released the dye based inks first. For the HP 2xxx and 3xxx series their pigmented inks were not introduced until quite a while after the printers were available. Thus the same sequence has been followed with the HP 5000.
The HP 5000 and 5000ps (ps=PostScript mini-RIP on board) were introduced in September at Seybold San Francisco 2000 trade show. The UV pigmented inks have been in considerable demand ever since then. Pigmented inks are needed for outdoor use, backlit, fine art giclee, and photo-realistic prints for photo studios. These inks were released during Spring 2001.
FLAAR received so many requests for information on the HP pigmented inks that we kept asking for a beta set so we could reassure everyone that the inks actually existed. Naturally other printer companies took advantage of the absence of UV pigmented inks for the HP printers.
Actually of course the pigmented inks have existed all along, indeed samples of prints from these inks were discretely exhibited at several international trade shows. But since the prints were not labeled with giant signs few people noticed that the inks were pigmented.
Since to our knowledge this FLAAR report is the first published notice on these new inks the FLAAR evaluations will be published on all three of our inkjet printer web sites. The review here will discuss the loading procedure, that is, how to change the inks from dye to pigmented.
The inks we received were a beta set. The inks come in one box: you get six HP printhead and cleaner sets; and one set of inks. As typical of thermal printhead systems it is usual to change the printhead when you change inks. With most HP printers you can expect a printhead to last two sets of inks. Thus for the dye inks you can get them with, or without, a replacement printheads. In the thermal system the printheads are intended to be disposable.
This report is not intended to be a user's manual since the HP booklet covers everything. I just wish to cover the steps: 1st, check your system software. If you have an early version (as did we) you have to upgrade the system software. This took forever thus I hope that the eventual commercial version of this package has everything conveniently on a CD. Obviously the download is no sweat, but for many first-time users attempting their first download of software can be a pain, and there is no reason to inflict this on anyone. It's easy enough to have all the software already on a CD. It would be even nicer if the software were already inside the HP printers when delivered, after all, that would encourage people to try the nice pigmented inks.
Opinion so far: sure is a lot easier to load the HP inks than any Encad. Priming and ink loading HP ink set is idiot-proof. A child could do it. As for the removal of the dye system and loading of the ink lines, any normal person with patience can do this. But, if I were buying this printer, and was paying the going rate for the ink, I would ask my local HP sales rep as a courtesy to drop in and show me at least once how to do it the first time around.
HP has designed the physical aspects of the ink system with considerable care. The system is indeed user friendly. The ink change is plug and play. The only glitch was the buggy software and the pain of downloading and getting the system software up to snuff, and then having it crash every two images. That caused the overall test to drag on for two entire days before we even got an opportunity to print our first image. Since I had flown all the way from Germany to do this, and had several gigabytes of test images to print, the delays were frustrating. After printing for three days we decided that the propensity of the system to lock up and crash suggested it realistic to bring the initial test phase to a close and wait until the software was less bug-ridden. In fairness to HP, we also needed to try out an additional computer, to eliminate the chance that it was the Mac that was causing the problem, not the unfinished printer software. The printer itself was a very early production model from last year. It is also possible that current models have different software. The two technicians working on this with us had to spend hours on the telephone with the friendly HP support people even to get the system up and running over a two day period, plus the third and subsequent days of continued software glitches. Since FLAAR is in the process of opening up a new evaluation studio at BGSU, we felt it would be more productive to do the remainder of the evaluation there.
We know from experience with Epson, that it took the software engineers several months to get their ICC profiles corrected. There is still time between now and the Spring '01 launch date. These new HP pigmented inks are definitely worth the wait.
Should you consider a used HP Designjet 5000 or 5500?
These two printer models are almost identical. The HP 5500 has slightly better firmware and a few added features, but otherwise are quite similar to each other. Both these printers are the best of their kind ever constructed, so used (if at a good price, and if in good condition) would be worth considering.
After-market inks for the HP Designjet 5000 and HP 5500
There is no need to spend money on expensive inks when good after-market inks are readily available. I have recently visited three printshops that have the HP 5500; all were using after-market replacement inks from Sam-Ink. They said the third-party replacement ink was just as good as the original ink and cost a lot less.
Water-based printers were common 2001-2004, but today it is UV, latex and Sepiax